AM on FM, DTV featured at next FCC meeting


The next Open Meeting of the FCC is pegged for Thursday 6/2/09. It’ll feature a wrap-up of the DTV transition, which by then will be wrapping up its third full week, and will also look at a proposal allowing AM stations to use FM translators for fill-in service.

The DTV session will no doubt be a self-congratulatory affair – we’re barely into the transition and it already seems to have achieved the noteworthy goal of being a non-story. It was barely mentioned in the national mainstream media sources we checked.

The AM on FM translators proposition has been in the works for some time now. The FCC’s terse description of the item says it will be a consideration of “…a Report and Order adopting rule changes to expand the permissible service of authorized FM translator stations to allow their use as a fill-in service for AM radio stations.”

Other items on the agenda include a status report on the Commission’s national broadband plan, a look at a rulemaking on fixed wireless services in the 6 GHz and 23 GHz Bands; and consideration of a rulemaking aimed at allocating spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 5.2 GHz bands and establishing service and technical rules for operation of medical body area networks for monitoring a patient’s physiological data.

RBR/TVBR observation: The AM on FM translators plank opens up great potential for conflict between AM operators and those seeking licenses for new LPFMs. LPFM forces are in high spirits right now after doing well in court and the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. It will be interesting to see how, or even if, this incipient bone of contention is addressed.